Sierra Railroad 1955

Modeling the Sierra Railroad in Twain Harte, CA



**** Sierra Yard – the Sierra Yard in Oakdale is the primary yard for the Sierra Railroad. The Yard is responsible for making up the two Eastbound Freights, #6 and #8 and the breakdown of the two Westbound Freights, #5 and #7. Each of these freights can be from 15 to 20 plus cars. The Yard also handles the local industries associated with the yard as well as handling the ATSF turn from Riverbank. Working closely with the SP-Oakdale Yard operator cars are interchanged with the SP – cars arriving on the SP for the Sierra and cars that have come down the hill to be shipped out on the SP. In addition to all of this the Yard Operator is responsible for keeping an open track through the Yard so that the Sierra Passenger trains trains can depart and arrive on schedule at the SP Depot. To assist you in making up the various jobs you are provided Switch Lists for Frts #6 and 8, the Riverbank Turn and the cars being picked up by the SP Peddlers.

**** Jamestown – You are basically the traffic cop directing all the trains in and out of Jamestown. In the morning you make up the Angels Frt # 2 and Sierra Frt #5. As you are making these trains up Angels Frt #1 arrives from Melones. You assist its operator in turning his locomotive on the Turntable and his departure back to Melones with the cars for Frt #2. The Rock Train from Sonora might have a pick up that came in on the Angels Frt #1. The Hill Job Extra – West will arrive with a number of cars that need to be blocked into Frt #5. As all this happening the two Sierra Passenger trains arrive and depart from Jamestown. After Frt #5 departs things quite down until about Noon when the morning freights arrive in town. Freight #6 from Oakdale has brought up empties from Oakdale that need to get to the mills on Hill Job #10. Hill Job #9 from Tuolumne has come down the hill with loaded cars from the mills that need to continue on to Oakdale on Frt #7. It’s your job to swap the cars between the two trains and to add any cars coming from your Yard. Once both Frts #7 and #10 have departed from Jamestown things return to normal once again.

In the afternoon the Rock Train returns from the valley and continues its run up to Sonora as the Sonora Turn. Before departing for Sonora its Locomotive is turned on the Turntable and picks up cars headed for Lime Kiln and Sonora. When Frt #8 arrives with the afternoon freight you set out and spot the cars per the Waybills and make up the Hill Job Extra – East. You will also have to deal with the afternoon Sierra Passenger trains and the Hetch Hetchy Rail Bus going to and from Melones. After 5 pm the second freight from Melones arrives, Angels #3. And just like in the morning you assist its operator in turning his locomotive on the Turntable and the pick up of the cars for Angels Frt #4.

On top of all of this you are the Roundhouse Hostler getting Locomotives out and in of the Roundhouse as needed. This not only includes the regular scheduled trains but the occasional Helper Locomotive or Movie/Work trains.

*** Tuolumne – the eastern terminus of the Sierra Railroad. After preparing Passenger #1 for departure you start making up Hill Job #9. Per the Waybills cars are pulled from the various locations around the WSLCo mill. The yard engine is the WSLCo two truck Heisler. Once the train is made up you put on the Sierra locomotive for the trip down to Jamestown, usually the #36.

Currently you now become the engineer on the Hill Job #9 . As Frt #9 you can have pick ups at Ralph, Black Oak, Standard, Fassler, Sonora and set outs at Standard, Fassler or Sonora prior to arriving at Jamestown. Upon your arrival in Jamestown you coordinate all your moves with the Jamestown Yard Master in preparation for the departure of Hill Job #10.


Morning Freights

** Hill Job Extra West – Jamestown to Fassler and back to Jamestown. You run light with your caboose up to Fassler. At Fassler you pick up a cut of cars that have been set out by the Pickering Yard crew and then start your return trip to Jamestown. The cars you are picking up will become part of Frt #5 at Jamestown so they can make the necessary connections with the SP and ATSF. Per the Waybills you will have pick ups in Sonora and Lime Kiln. You will coordinate your arrival in Jamestown with the Jamestown Yard Master. At some point on trip back to Jamestown you will need to be in the clear for Passenger #1. Once you have turn over your train to the Jamestown Yard Master you return to the crew lounge and sign up for the next job.

* Atlas Turn – Per the Waybills at Atlas Rock you make a cut of Rock Cars for the Rock East train. You take the cut of cars to Paulsell and leave them on the branch line. Per the Waybills you pull local freight cars in Paulsell and set them out on the siding to be picked up later by the Sierra Frts. Once this work is completed you head to Oakdale with just your locomotive. Coordinate your arrival with the Sierra Yard Master. Your locomotive will become the Yard Master’s switch engine once Ft #6 has departed Oakdale. Return to the crew lounge and sign up for the next job.

** Rock Train West – runs from Sonora down to Paulsell and then out the Orange Blossom Branch to the Atlas Rock Co. The westbound train is made up of empty rock hoppers heading back to Atlas to be reloaded over night. You might have pick ups at Sonora, Jamestown, Hatlers , Hetch Hetchy Jct and possible drop offs at Hatlers and Hetch Hetchy Jct. Once you arrive in Paulsell you pull the cut of loads off the branch and run around your train so you can push the empties down to Atlas Rock. Once back in Paulsell you make a quick caboose hop down to Oakdale to turn your locomotive on the Oakdale wye in preparation for trip back up the hill as Rock Train East.

After turning your locomotive in Oakdale you return to Paulsell and pick up the loaded Rock Hoppers for the trip back up the hill. About 50% of the time you will need a Helper between Cooperstown and HH Jct. The Helper, usually the #28 is cut in about mid way in the train and is run by a second engineer. The Helper is cut out at HH Jct and you continue onto your final destination of Sonora.

This job which starts at 6:00 am in Sonora is usually completed by th early afternoon but can take longer depending on the flow of traffic.

** Angels Frt #1 and #3 – Frt #1 departs Melones for Jamestown with Locomotive #30 and up to 3 cars. Its caboose is a shorty Combine that will be picked up by Passenger #1. The cars being delivered by Frt #1 will usually head down the hill on Sierra Frt #5. After turning your Locomotive on the Jamestown turntable you are ready to head back out to Melones. Again your train will have up 3 cars for Melones and a caboose. Back in Melones you spot your cars per Waybills, turn your Locomotive on the Melones Turntable and make up Frt #3 for its afternoon run to Jamestown.

***Sierra Freight # 5 – Westbound from Jamestown to Oakdale. You depart Jamestown with #38 running tender first until you reach the Cooperstown Wye where you turn your locomotive for the final run into Oakdale. After leaving Jamestown you will usually have work in Chinese, Keystone, HH Jct, Cooperstown, Warnerville and Paulsell. On occasion you will require an helper to get up and over Chinese Hill. If an helper is not available then you will need to double the Hill spotting the first cut of cars on Quinn Spur and returning to Chinese to pick up the second half of your train. Once back at Quinn Spur you put your train back together and continue on down the Hill. Usually Frt #5 has 15 to 20 plus cars by the time you reach Oakdale and the Sierra Yard .

*** Sierra Freight #6 – Eastbound from Oakdale to Jamestown. You depart Oakdale with Baldwin S-12s #40 and 42 in their red and yellow paint scheme. The two diesels are coupled cab to cab for their run up to Jamestown. Just like your counterpart , Frt #5, you will can have work at each location along the right of way between Oakdale and Jamestown. When you leave Oakdale your train will have between 15 and 20 plus cars. The two morning Freights will usually meet each other either at Cooperstown or HH Jct.

Morning Passenger Trains

* Passenger #1 – Tuolumne to Oakdale. The Passenger trains are the only trains on the Sierra that run on a Time Table. At Jamestown you pick up a Combine that has arrived from Melones on the morning Angels Branch Frt. Passenger #1 with locomotive #3 in the lead meets Passenger #2 at Cooperstown. Although as a Passenger Train you have priority over all the freights you always need to be alert for a wayward freight that is not in the clear.

* Passenger #2 – Oakdale to Tuolumne . Passenger #2 is headed up by locomotive #32. It’s straight run up the hill to Tuolumne. At Tuolumne the train turns on the Wye prior to backing down to the station.

Afternoon Freights

***Sierra Frt #7 – Jamestown to Oakdale. The S-12s take the loads from the Mills that have just arrived in Jamestown on the Hill Job #9. Frt #7 is usually 15 to 20 plus cars with most of the cars destined for the ATSF and SP Interchanges. There can be local work at each location between Jamestown and Oakdale.

***Sierra Frt #8 – Oakdale to Jamestown. After the #38 turns on the Oakdale Wye it’s ready for its return trip up the hill to Jamestown. Frt #8 usually has 15 to 20 plus cars and occasionally will require a Helper east of Cooperstown. Frt #8 will usually have more local work along the way than its counterpart Frt #6. The two afternoon Freight usually meet at Cooperstown but the meet can take place almost anywhere based on their respective departure times.

***Hill Job #10 – Jamestown to Tuolumne. The Hill Job #10 leaves Jamestown after Frt #7 has departed Jamestown. Frt # 10 is made up of mostly empties that have been brought to Jamestown by Frt #6. The empties are going out to the Pickering and WSLCo mills. It is not unusual for the Hill Job to need an Helper, the Jamestown Yard Switcher #24, up to Lime Kiln. Once the Hill Job arrives in Tuolumne it’s responsible for spotting the cars it just brought into town and to finish up any of the local switching.

** Hill Job Extra East – Jamestown to Fassler and back to Jamestown. After Frt #8 arrives in Jamestown from Oakdale the HJXE is made up with cars headed for Lime Kiln, Sonora and Fassler. The train is setting out cars and has no pick ups so for its return trip to Jamestown is just a caboose hop.

Afternoon Passenger Trains

*Passenger #3 – Tuolumne to Oakdale. The Passenger Train departs Tuolumne at 2:40 pm and is scheduled to meet Passenger #4 at Keystone. Although running per the Time Table it’s always best to be on the lookout for oncoming Freights. On rare occasions the Passenger Train can become a mixed train to help move a car that was overlook by an earlier Freight.

*Passenger #4 – Oakdale to Tuolumne. The Passenger Train departs Oakdale at 3:20 pm and is scheduled to meet Passenger #3 at Keystone. Although running per the Time Table it’s always best to be on the lookout for oncoming Freights. On rare occasions the Passenger Train can become a mixed train to help move a car that was overlook by an earlier Freight.

Sierra Railroad Logo

Sierra Railroad Logo


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